LANCASTER, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall escaped with a 24-17 victory over Moravian in Centennial Conference (CC) football action Saturday afternoon at Sponaugle-Williamson Field. F&M improved to 6-1, 5-1 CC while the Greyhounds dropped to 4-3, 3-3 CC.
The Greyhounds took an early 7-0 lead late in the first quarter before the Diplomats countered with 14 points in a span of just more than a minute. F&M's first score came at the end of an 8-play, 60-yard drive that ended early in the second quarter when Dave Shellhammer took it home from two yards out and tied the game at 7-7.
Ben Okun picked off Mike Hayes on the third play of Moravian's next drive which gave F&M the ball on the Greyhound 21-yardline. Zachary Bradley connected with Andrew DeStefano for 16 yards and Taalib Gerald scored on a five-yard jaunt for the go-ahead score and a 14-7 F&M lead.
Two series later, the Diplomats tacked on seven more points off a 49-yard scoring drive. Bradley found Bobby Keyes for 13 yards on a third-and-six to keep the drive going. Three plays later, Bradley hooked up with Dillon Alderfer on a 21-yard strike for the score and Billy Zwicharowski's PAT made it 21-7.
F&M struck first in the third quarter when Zwicharowski drilled a 27-yard field goal to put F&M up 24-7 with 4:43 left in the quarter. The Greyhounds responded with 10 unanswered points to come within seven, 24-17, with 8:49 left to play.
The Diplomats took 4:31 off the clock on their next drive and the defense forced a three-and-out on Moravian's next possession, giving F&M the ball back with 3:38 left to play. Gerald all but sealed the victory with a 40-yard sprint on third-and-eight, setting F&M up in Moravian's territory.
Moravian picked up a stop on third down and appeared to have forced a punt by F&M, but the Greyhounds were called for a facemask, giving F&M the first down and the victory.
F&M outgained Moravian 360-268 yards and held a 36:10-23:58 advantage in time of possession.
Shellhammer racked up 77 yards on 23 carries and one score and Gerald ended the day with 74 yards on 17 touches and one touchdown. Bradley completed 16-of-26 pass for 212 yards and threw for one score.
Bobby Keyes hauled in seven catches for 92 yards to pace the receivers and Alderfer recorded 75 yards on four catches with one touchdown.
Jon Naji led the defense with nine stops (8s) with one tackle for a loss (TFL). Okun, Brendan Daly, Luke Foukas and Michael Sullivan all finished with six tackles apiece. Okun added an interception while Daly had two pass break ups. Foukas netted 1.5 sacks and Joe Granahan was in for half a sack with four stops.
The Diplomats return to action next Saturday when F&M travels to Susquehanna for a 1:00 p.m. game.